Ornella Fieres toys with our senses and wits. The artist takes analogue and digital photographs. She takes photos of reality and of images. Images that she paints using the computer programme Photoshop and images that become visible on screens. Some of the photographed images resemble reality. Others are loose image inventions. We can never be sure what it is that we are seeing. This not-knowing relates to the images themselves as well as the depicted. And even if Ornella Fieres’ photographs depict something that really took place, it is never entirely clear whether what we see is a document or a mise-en-scène. Ornella Fieres deceives our viewing patterns and expectations but she also shows that we – children of the internet age – can cope with that insecurity without a problem.
At least since the beginning of the digital age the imagination of only one reality has been abandoned. The question about reality’s truth has become redundant. Indexicality has become irrelevant in a world in which digital images, besides photography, imitate reality to the point that it has become impossible to recognise the difference. And yet, the visual sense is the most important one in the Internet age in which reality expands behind a lit up surface.
“Looks like you tried to go somewhere that does not exist” is what a computer says after clicking on a link whose target page has already been erased from the Internet’s memory. This sentence, which is almost philosophically romantic, reminds us of the fact that behind the virtual universe there is a real human being which has programmed the very same thing. Moreover, it is reminiscent of the fact that ‘going’ has a different meaning in relation to the Internet. There, we find images of the ocean depth, the Amazon jungle or the Himalaya right next to photographs of space–places that one probably never will visit and see with ones own eyes. Images that were made by using lenses of technical instruments convey a specific reality just like NASA photographs that are supposed to visualise everyday reality in the universe. (...)